Thursday, August 02, 2007

Toyota as Educators

Check out this post from the Evolving Excellence blog: "Toyota Training the World...sort of."

They talk about Toyota investing in education and training for potential future employees in India. The term "strengthening the human supply chain" is used, and this makes a lot of sense to me. Having a stable workforce capable of thinking and learning is a HUGE part of having a stable production process. The 4M's (man, machine, material, method) are potential sources of instability, and first among them is "man." You can't really problem-solve the other 3M's without spending time on the first one.

When we went to Toyota Georgetown recently, the company's investment in people was obvious. They have a huge training facility adjacent to the factory. They offer college courses in their training facility. They offer employee day care services. They offer employee pharmacy services. They give away dozens and dozens of cars every year for perfect attendance. They have ping-pong tables and basketball goals right on the production line. The impression one gets is that Toyota really considers their employees to be their most valuable asset, an asset that must be kept in prime condition physically and mentally. An unstable workforce isn't a value-adding continuously improving workforce.